The region currently known as Ghana traces its roots back through the trans-Saharan trade. The area has been witness to numerous empires, perhaps the most significant of which was the Ashanti. This kingdom came to power through swift military action in the 1600s, and ruled from Kumasi into an era of colonization.
The colonial period weakened the strength of the Ashanti Kingdom considerably. Foreign rule and the slave trade had a detrimental effect on the growth of the country. However, Ghana was the first African country to successfully win independence. Led by Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana became a model and inspiration for nations across the continent. The state's name was chosen in memory of the ancient West Africa Ghana Empire, which was famed for its gold and wealth.
In the years since independence, Ghana has seen numerous developmental successes. With a history free from civil war, the country has been focused on establishing democratic processes. The country is one of the few in Africa to be recognized for its free media. It also offers free universal health care and access to primary education. Ghana contributes substantially to regional governance, both through the formation of governing bodies and through peace-keeping missions. It is regarded as a model for strong African development.
Accra has been the regional capital since the early colonial period. After the British defeated the Ashanti kingdom in 1874, they moved the capital city of British Gold Coast from Cape Coast to its current home. As the colonial presence grew in the country, the capital grew as well. This growth gave way to segregated neighbourhoods, the construction of a railway and a lot of new infrastructure. As hospitals and schools emerged, people began to move from rural areas to the city.
After independence in 1957, the dynamics of Accra changed from one of intense organization to one of liberation. President Kwame Nkrumah envisioned a city that would further the independence movement across Africa. He built numerous landmarks commemorating the achievement, such as Independence Square and the Community Centre.
Modern day Accra shows highlights from the city's many stages of development. It includes modern buildings, a National Theatre, a Sports Stadium and many social attractions. It acts as the main transportation hub for the country because it has the main airport, the train station and bus connections to most major cities.
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